The Gustavus Baseball team doesn’t make the schedule. The team just plays the games as they come. With only two more weeks until the MIAC tournament, few games remain as they jockey for an important playoff position.
Thus far, the team has benefited from dominating the bottom half of the MIAC. As of Wednesday, the Gusties had compiled a record of 10-3 in conference play, good enough for second place in the MIAC.
The Gusties got off to a fantastic conference start by sweeping St. John’s, Concordia, Bethel and Carleton all within the first eight days of the conference season to earn a record of 8-0. Due to inclement weather, the entire twenty-game MIAC regular season has been condensed into a period of less than a month.
Gustavus started the MIAC season on April 8 against St. John’s and will wrap up the conference season on May 4; so it is definitely more of a sprint than a marathon. After seeing their nine-game winning streak snapped on April 20 against Macalester, the Gusties immediately bounced back and defeated St. Mary’s 10-5 on Monday. Unfortunately, poor weather struck again and the second game of the doubleheader was rained out.
Senior catcher Shea Roehrkasse said, “We are happy with the start we’ve had in conference, but it’s far from over and we want to be playing well going into the stretch run of the season.” The stretch run started Wednesday afternoon when the Gusties traveled to Northfield where they were swept by third place St. Olaf.
Unfortunately, the schedule doesn’t get much easier when the diamond-cutters return home to face the division leaders as perennial MIAC powerhouse St. Thomas rolls into town on Saturday. “We have a tough schedule coming up in the next week, so if we continue working hard and making the plays we should be ready for the playoffs,” said Senior first baseman Pat Siering.
St. Thomas should provide the competition needed for the Gusties to get ready for the playoffs. Currently ranked fifteenth in Division III, the Tommies knocked the ball all over the park last week while beating previously undefeated St. Olaf by scores of 15-13 and 12-9.
The Tommies boast one of the most impressive pitching staffs in the entire conference. Led by last season’s MIAC Most Valuable Pitcher, Senior Lonnie Robinson, the Tommies have been hard to stop. Thus far, they’ve shut down nearly every opponent they’ve faced, with the exception of St. Olaf, to whom they gave up an alarming number of runs.
Although regular season success is nice, the Gusties have hopes of doing damage come MIAC Tournament time. “Hopefully, we can continue getting good pitching, hitting and fielding and we can make a run in the MIAC tourney,” said Senior pitcher Dave Wold.
The Gusties think that the difficult schedule at the end of the season will better prepare them for a long postseason run. “The games we are looking forward to are coming up, and we know we have to be playing our best ball at the end; so hopefully we’ll keep working hard to get that done,” said Junior shortstop Mike DesLauriers.
The second-place Gusties come home to take on the division-leading Tommies in a doubleheader on Saturday. The first game starts at 1:00 p.m with the second game to immediately follow the conclusion of the first.